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High King
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May 1, 2001
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Atmospheric music if you like)

Baralandir's grandfather always rose well before the dawn. Unless he was extremely ill, he would pull his creaking bones from his bed, and sit on the balcony and look east. Grey and still and old, he seemed to become part of their modest manor, like some sort of guardian statue. Even in the winter, when the cold wind blew from the north, he would wrap himself in his great cloak and sit. It had been deep black, now years had faded it to a grey that was almost blue, but the scepter and star embroidered in silver thread was as bright as the day it was given to him.

Their home was on the foothills of the Mountains of Evendim, and his grandfather looked east over the great lake Nenuial. On clear days the tall towers of Annuminas could be seen far away to the south. But for most of the year the lake was covered with fog at morning and evening. And this is what grandfather would watch, waiting for the sun to slowly melt it away. And often he would sing to himself a common song,

"Mist and shadow, cloud and shade.
All shall fade, all shall fade."

And when the sun was well up, he would return to bed.

Baralandir rose early himself this cold morning. He was grown to his full height and strength now, and was impatient to go to the capitol and enlist in the service of the King. But his father and mother still forbade him from doing so. He had half resolved to leave before they woke and ride away into the mist. His grandfather's milky eyes were open, and he called to him.

"I am glad you are awake. I was just thinking of you. It seems to me like it was just such a morning that I swore my vows as a Knight of Annuminas, and though the years lie heavier on me, I think I was your age or near enough. Stay awhile, and listen. We have time enough before the dawn."

Baralandir was intrigued. His grandfather rarely spoke of his days as a knight, though he had heard stories from those who served with him. He put more fuel in the brazier and drew a chair close.

"It was far from here, at Fornost Erain, in days when hardly any of our folk lived beside the lake. But though it lay over the north downs, the mists were the same..."
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Mists of Evendim

This is an AAR of the excellent Middle-Earth Project mod. I'm not affiliated with that mod in any capacity, except as a fan, so any questions about the mod should be referred to that thread.

I'll be playing the Kingdom of Arthedain, one of the successor states of the lost Kingdom of Arnor, in the Kinstrife start. It's TA 1427, centuries before the War of the Ring, long before there were even any Hobbits in the Shire. Sauron is still in hiding, there's still a King in Gondor, and the Rohirrim's ancestors have yet to migrate into the Riddermark.

There are some unique mechanics to this mod. I'll try to incorporate explainations of them when I can, but if anything is unclear let me know.

'It is probably hard for you young men to understand how grim things were in those days. The Witch King was at the full height of his power. From Carn Dum he held Rhuadar in thrall, and the Hill-men were deep in his service. War and plague had all but destroyed Cardolan. Arador still ruled a remnant of his people in Tyr Gorthad, where the barrows of ancient Kings loomed. Fornost and Annuminas both had been abandoned, ravaged by the last war against the Witch-King.


We Dunedain had been reduced for the most part to the lands between the Baranduin and Amon Sul. To the south the Bree-folk carried on their lives as they always had, but nearly all the rest of the old Realm of Arnor was now wilderness. A few of our folk still dwelt in the countryside, living off the land and preserving what they could of the old majesty of Isildur's kingdom. Rangers we called them where I grew up, in Esteldin, where the Dunedain still dwelt in numbers.

Though none spoke it aloud, many of us suspected we might be the last generation of the Dunedain. It seemed that all we could hope for was to delay the day of doom. Still, we had hope. We had a noble and mighty King, who was already a legend in those days.


His father, King Arveleg, had been slain defending Amon Sul against the Witch-King. Araphor had come to the scepter very young, no more than 18 years old, but he had led our people through that war with the aid of the elves of Rivendell and Lindon. I'd been a child in those wars, and grew up in awe of our King. I took up arms young, as was common, and served as an ohtar, a squire to a roquen, a knight of the realm. Araphor had taken to wife Luthien, the sister of Arador of Cardolan, and with that alliance hope had been rekindled. Therefore he began enlisting new warriors in his service, and I joined one of the 12 new companies of household knights.

He had moved his court into a camp on the ruins of Fornost Erain. There I took my vows of loyalty to him and Arthedain. The sun had just risen, and the downs were covered in fog below us. My heart was high in my chest, as he touched my shoulders with the Rod of Annuminas, the work of old Numenor. I was certain that glory and honor were to be my future.

In truth the next years were a great trial for me. King Araphor was wise, and knew that he needed to husband the strength of the realm against another attack by Angmar. So while he spent time and wealth hiring and training more knights and guardsmen, Arador of Cardolan looked to restore that realm by force of arms. He waged war on the various tribes of lesser men that had moved into what had been Cardolan, subduing them separately. To these efforts Araphor sent only words of encouragement, though in truth Arador needed no help against such foes.

Once Araphor refused to send even that much. Arador desired to conquer the old forest on the edge of the Barrow Downs. This put him in hostility with the the mysterious being we call Iarwain Ben-Adar, that the Breelanders call Tom Bombadil.


Cardolan lost many warriors to the strange dangers of the forest, though Iarwain himself is not said to have slain any. In the end he accepted Arador as King, but he remained the Master of the Wood, and little profit did Arador ever gain from the conquest. In fact his people suffered somewhat, as did ours. Iarwain Ben-Adar it seems had played a part we did not know, containing wraiths that walked the Downs at night. One such wight plagued the hinterlands of Bree for a time, and the King sent his Marshal to deal with the threat.


Araglas of Flowerhill was his name, and I served in his company. So I was with him as he rode on patrol at night. And when at last we had tracked the creature to its barrow, I helped to pry open the cold stone slab covering the door. I entered the darkened Barrow with him. There for the first time I saw with my own eyes the evil magic of the Witch King. With torch and sword we put down the walking corpse. Then to break the spell we dug out the roof of the mound so that sunlight would pour in and banish the fell spirit. We gathered the treasures within, leaving it free to all takers, as must be done to prevent a curse from staying with them.

For a long while that was my greatest adventure. While Arador fought, my own king endeavored to resettle and rebuild Fornost. Great expense and effort went into it, but our encampment in the ruins became a living town again. It was a pale shadow of the royal capitol at its height, but it was still a splendid sight to see. There was life and music in the old stones again.


A few years after, Prince Alatar was born, as though he was waiting to be born in the city of his grandfather. How we celebrated! Until then King Araphor had no heir, and it seemed that a single misfortune might end the line of Isildur in Arthedain.


All the while more and more men joined the army of King Araphor. More companies of Knights, and serried ranks of pikemen, elite rangers and bold companies of Arnorian men at arms. A mighty army was forever ready at Fornost, and I and men like me were impatient. The King, of course, was of the Blood of Numenor unmingled, and could well expect to live three times as long as a lesser man, if not more. But for myself, it seemed that the fateful day of battle against Angmar would come only when I was too old to bear arms.

How wrong I was! For the Witch King had not been idle. He had watched Arador's conquests. While in time they might make Cardolan stronger, they had served only to deplete their numbers at first. So in the fifteenth year of my service as a Knight, the Witch King struck at Tyr Gorthad with his full strength, and we men of Arthedain marched to the aid of our neighbors.

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I will admit I'm here for the story but I will be watching with interest your gameplay and events as well. I will be following along.
Neat! Never seen this mod before! I will watch with interest!

I will admit I'm here for the story but I will be watching with interest your gameplay and events as well. I will be following along.

Thanks for the interest. I'm amazed that there haven't been other Middle Earth Project AARs. The frequent use of fog imagery in descriptions of the region suggested the idea of the old grandfather to me. Hopefully I can live up to the setting.
((Mood music if you are so inclined))

'When we marched out of Fornost, it was a morning not unlike this one. It was early spring, and the fog lay thick on the downs. The crests of the hills were like islands in a sea of white beneath us as we mustered outside the gates. The serried ranks of the royal foot guards, the men at arms with their long swords, the dour rangers wrapped in their green cloaks, the hundreds of warhorses tramping and snorting in their places- I can see all of it still. King Araphor rode out from the gate just as the sun rose clear of the clouds. The halberd heads and swords and mail all seemed to flash with flame. The King raised high his sword, and the Elendilmir on his brow blazed with light.

"Laho calad!" He cried. "Drego morn!" We shouted back. Such had been the war cry of the host of Hurin the Steadfast when they marched to war in the First Age: 'Flame light! Flee night!'


The Witch King might only have been a servant of Sauron the Accursed, who in turn was much less than Morgoth Bauglir who Hurin defied. But even so, his power was great, and in our hearts many doubted whether any army of men, even if they be the Blood of Numenor, could overthrow him. Arador's army was in headlong flight, too terribly outnumbered to consider making a stand. We marched south down the Greenway to his aid. But though we did not tarry, the legions of Angmar overran Tyrn Gorthad far before we could reach them. Arador's people fled to the dubious shelter of the wild lands to the south, and to the Old Forest and the strange protection of Iarwain Ben-Adar. When we reached Bree, we heard from our scouts that the Witch-King's hoard had turned aside from its pursuit of them, and was marching to meet us.


Bree was then as it is now, a bustling town on the crossroads. The Breelanders are worthy folk, though we call them lesser men, being more akin to the Dunlendings and Hillmen of Rhuadar than to the Dunedain. But Bree has never been a great fortress, having no real walls but only a ditch and hedge. So rather than try to defend the town we marched south to put ourselves athwart the enemy's advance. Up the Greenway they came, Orcs and Men and even trolls that were kept from turning to stone by the Witch King's powers. In the fields of Andrath to the south of Bree the King bade us form up our lines. I was still in Araglas' company, and he had command of the center. The King had ordered us knights to be held in reserve at first. At the forefront were Rangers armed with longbows, and behind them the pikemen of the guard formed a spear-hedge, a living fortress of steel and valour.


The enemy began their attack near dusk. At first they approached cautiously, with orcs and hillmen charging ahead to pepper our ranks with arrows, hoping to bait us into an unwary advance. But even the least of our troops was better armored than any orc, and even with the failing light the bows of the rangers took a heavy toll upon the enemy. So soon a hideous cry rose, shrill and painful, from the enemy camp, and the forces of Angmar advanced upon us.


Waves of orcs charged forward towards us. On our right came the hillmen of Rhuadar, and I heard the horns of the Knights on that flank as they charged forward. But in the center our pikemen held their ground like a rock against waves, while the archers fired volleys into the writhing mass of oncoming orcs. They broke and began to run, but then rallied and charged again. Three times this wave crashed against our line. But this was just the opening gambit of the Witch King, meant to tire our men, before the real assault.

When the sun had fully set the Witch-King himself attacked. His bodyguard of warg-riders howled, but we scarcely noticed them compared to him. It was as though he cast a giant shadow in the growing night, and fear froze the heart of the boldest. The spear-hedge wavered. Men began to flee, and a lane opened in the line, towards which the wolves raced.

Araglas was a man known for being slow in speech, and usually he took long to make up his mind. But in the darkness of that night he did not hesitate. "Elendill!" he cried, and spurred his horse towards the gap. The paralysis of fear broke enough for me to spur on my own horse. By habit and training I followed my captain, and the other knights of our company did the same. I lowered my lance and took aim at a great warg, trying not to look or think at the dread figure that urged them on. The tip pierced through its skull before it snapped. I drew my sword and struck down its rider, and wheeled and charged reflexively into the ranks of oncoming Orcs.

I did not see Araglas, and to this day I cannot piece together the confused, frantic events of that fight. But many others did, and I am told that his horse threw him in its terror, but he rose up at once. He slew the Nazgul's steed, and stood blow for blow with the wraith, even piercing his heart with his sword. The Witch-King could not be killed so simply, but pain it seems still bit at him. With a horrid shriek he fled, and his guard that were not slain did the same, and soon all the center of the enemy's host was in retreat.


Araglas was stricken with a strange malady, though under the direction of the King the healers would revive him. But now we were free to turn on the other flanks of the enemy, and we made a glorious slaughter among them. When dawn came, it found us blinking and gaping at our own victory. More than nine tenths of the host of Angmar were slain on that field. We grieved greatly over our dead, and I lost two dear friends that night. But though we scarcely understood it, we had changed the fate of Arnor. For our people, day would come again.

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I will keep a eye on this. can you provide a link to the mod and what are the system requirments. (I only ask in terrms of RAM because I only have 4gb and can't run the elder kings mod)

Still very good so far. KUTGW
Looks nice so far ;)
Following this. I'll admit I'd be more excited if the Witch King was winning, the fall of Arnor makes a better tale than its glorious victories. :p
I will keep a eye on this. can you provide a link to the mod and what are the system requirments. (I only ask in terrms of RAM because I only have 4gb and can't run the elder kings mod)

Still very good so far. KUTGW

Thanks, there's a link in the second post, but here's another one http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum...th-Project&p=14994141&viewfull=1#post14994141

It would seem that the Turning of The Tide comes early to lands of Arnor in this timeline.

Following this. I'll admit I'd be more excited if the Witch King was winning, the fall of Arnor makes a better tale than its glorious victories. :p

Previous versions have had something of a problem keeping the Witch King strong. While he is personally rather badass, with that 40 martial score and all, his army is almost all very low-quality orcs. By comparison, Dunedain are utter badasses. While King Araphor's levies are tiny, he has a huge retinue cap, and Dunedain culture retinues are pretty great. The battle of Bree was nowhere near as close as my narrative implied, it was pretty one sided. But Angmar does have one advantage: Orc troops recover their numbers much, much faster than Dunedain.

Looking good!

I always had a soft spot for Arthedain and the North Kingdom, hope you manage to restore it to its former glory :)

I'm glad it's not just me! The glimpses of it on the edges of the Lord of the Rings always enchanted me, with their ruined towers and haunted barrows, and of course the fog, fog everywhere. There's nothing as mystical to me as a ruined kingdom. Except, of course, rebuilding such a kingdom.

I'll be eagerly following it :D

Feel free to post any suggestions that you might think of during your play-through on our Suggestions thread:

Oh I will. And I must say the team has been good about taking feedback, a lot of my previous suggestions seem to have been incorporated into the new version.

Looks great so far ;)
In case anyone's wondering, I hit some bugs but this is still on. Next update should be soonish.
Status report: I work in retail, so it is presently the apocalypse. Also my adorable nieces infected me with plague. Also the next update is proving harder to write then anticipated. I'd say it's about 50% complete.
A Middle Earth AAR. As a major fan, and collector of Tolkien's works, I must follow! :p

Cheers! Hopefully after Christmas your work won't be as hectic.